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Vietnam ministries discuss intangible heritage education in schools

Thursday, March 26, 2015, 17:02 GMT+7
Vietnam ministries discuss intangible heritage education in schools
Students of Tran Hung Dao Elementary School in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City do exercise when the folk song "Trong Com" is played.

Around 60 experts from Vietnam and 13 other Asia-Pacific countries have recently gathered in Hanoi for a regional conference to discuss educating intangible heritage in schools.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

At the event held on March 24 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and UNESCO, the educational ministry said it has guided a pilot program using cultural heritage in education in seven localities across the country since 2013.

However, according Nguyen Van Huy, member of a project titled “Heritage Education in Vietnamese Schools” sponsored by UNESCO, most projects to bring cultural heritage into schools in recent years have not been very efficient due to several obstacles, such as the lack of heritage information sharing from cultural agencies.

Nguyen Xuan Truong, from the secondary education department under the Ministry of Education and Training, also listed difficulties in bringing heritage education into schools, including teachers’ limited ability and teaching material shortages.

He also said the fact that there has been no detailed direction on exploring intangible heritage for education is also an obstacle for this.

A report at the conference showed that over 73 percent of middle school students in Vietnam do not know more than 10 folk songs.

“It’s not about students being indifferent to intangible heritage in general, and Vietnamese folk music in particular, it’s about how the learning program attracts them,” Nguyen Thi To Mai, head of the Music Education Department under the National University of Art Education, commented.

Other experts also agreed that to bring intangible heritages effectively into schools, the curriculum needs to be interesting and taught with effective methods.

“The teaching program needs to be flexible and suitable for local culture, as well as each school’s conditions,” Nguyen Vinh Hien, Vice Minister of Education and Training, stated at the conference. 

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